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Life, Writing

Here’s To You

February 17, 2016

Whiskey burns the back of my throat, as a tear threatens to sting my eye,

How has it been two years already, since your premature goodbye,

The wounds form scars, the marks you left on our lives,

So we’ll raise a glass as we remember you tonight.


People worry about leaving a legacy, but you’ll never be forgotten,

You’ll live on through hundreds of stories, everyone who knew you has got one,

Truly, no one has a bad word to say and they speak about you with a smile that reaches their eyes,

And there a little bits of you in all of us; you’re our family tie.


You had a great life, and should be proud of what you did,

A wonderful 52 year marriage, loving kids and grand kids,

So if death is nothing at all, maybe we’ll met again some day,

We can sit around and talk for hours, laugh whatever comes next away.


Here’s to you for teaching us that family is strong,

Here’s to you for showing us that love isn’t always perfect, but it’s ours,

Here’s to you for teaching us to unapologetically be who we are,

Here’s to you for breaking all of our hearts.


I can’t believe that last Thursday marked two years since my Grandad died. It simultaneously feels like forever and no time at all.

Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing

NaNoWriMo week 3

November 24, 2015


Apologies, this is a day late, I know. In week three, I hit 50,000 words! My aim really is to finish my first draft by the end of November now.

Read on for my little diary about my thoughts on my novel and the amount of writing I got done each day in week three.

Day 16 – 40,619 words

I struggled towards the end of week 2, and ended up not writing very much at all over the weekend. I got my mojo back a little bit and managed to get back on top of my word count.


Day 17 – 42,576 words

I think I’m officially over the mini episode of writer’s block I had over the weekend. I could have written more today but had so much else to do, so hopefully the words will come out just as easily tomorrow. We’ll see.


Day 18 – 44, 349 words

Definitely feeling like I’m entirely over my writers block, the only problem is that I have so many other things to do that I don’t have time to have a beast of a writing session.


Day 19 – 47,082 words

I’m so close to reaching 50,000 words!


Day 20 – 50,404 words

50,000 words! Yes! So, I’ve ‘won’ NaNoWriMo, but I would really like to try and finish my first draft entirely by the end of November. It’s ambitious, but if I can write 50,000 words in three weeks, it’s not exactly insurmountable.


Day 21 – 50,582 words

Tom is working away in the week at the moment, so it’s really hard for me to feel ok about sitting down for an hour and writing on the weekend, which is why my word count was so bad today.


Day 22 – 52,407 words

Ok, so I feel a little less bad about sitting down and writing for an hour. Tom brought an Xbox One yesterday, which means I can write while he’s playing that, and not feel bad about it.

Today was one of those days where you start writing and all of a sudden you’ve written almost 2,000 words. I had to recheck my word count a few times because it really didn’t feel like I’d written that much.

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you?

Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing

NaNoWriMo: week 2

November 17, 2015

NaNoWriMo week 2

After the success of week one, week two was a little trickier and I started to struggle with parts that I hadn’t planned so well.

Here’s my NaNoWriMo diary on how week two of writing went, and my plans for week three.


Day 9 – 28,263 words

Monday is my day off from university, and I also had it off from work, so I decided to get a lot of reading and university work done. During a break from reading and making notes, I beat my word count and had to force myself to stop writing and get back to doing other things.


Day 10 – 30,076 words

Today is the first day where I feel like I’ve come anywhere close to struggling to reach my daily word count. I wrote a rough plan in preparation, and the characters have deviated a little, but the part I’ve come to now is probably the least planned part and that’s caught me out.

Nevertheless, I still beat my daily word count, so I can’t complain. Though, I realise my struggle may also be due to discovering The Vampire Diaries on Netflix. Oops. Hooked.


Day 11 – 32,198 words

I’m making progress, but not finding it as easy going as everything else so far due to the lack of planning around this bit.


Day 12 – 34,009 words

I started writing some Christmas scenes today, which was nice as I love the build up to Christmas and imagining winter wonderlands.


Day 13 –  36,125 words

Much the same as the rest of the week, progress has been slower than last week because I’ve not really planned this part out.


Day 14 – 37,222 words

This is the first day that I haven’t met my daily word goal of 1,667. Of course, it’s not too bad as I’m ahead, but I was hoping to beat the word goal every day nonetheless. I had a pretty busy day, and just didn’t have chance to write much.


Day 15 – 37,462 words

Well, this was my worst day of NaNoWriMo so far. I just couldn’t get anything decent out, so I decided not to push it.
I’m hoping things will pick up in week three, and my aim is to reach 50,000 words by the end of the week.


How is NaNoWriMo going for you?

Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing

NaNoWriMo 2015: Week 1

November 9, 2015

NaNoWriMo week 1 update

Welcome to week 2 of NaNoWriMo! Throughout November, I will be doing a weekly update with mini diary entries from each day of NaNoWriMo, including my overall word count at the end of the day.

Week 1 has been really good and I’m just over half way to 50,000 words, which I’m surprised by. Heading into November, I thought it would be a real struggle to hit my word count every day, but I’ve exceeded it so far.

Week 2 is often called the hardest week because you’ve made it through the first week, and in the second your enthusiasm may begin to wane and you might begin to relax a little too much.

My story has deviated from plot a little, but I think everything extra that I’ve written has added something to the story that I feel makes it better. I’m perhaps around one-third of the way through my plot, and I’m looking forward to seeing what week 2 brings.


Day 1 – 4,129

I was at work for most of the day, but had a really good evening writing session, which ran over to about 1am on Monday morning.


Day 2 – 7,633

I only planned on meeting my daily word goal on the second day as I had a lot of work to do for university, but I ended up on a bit of a roll and didn’t want to stop myself.

My beginning is feeling a little all over the place, and I know there are gaps to fill in, but that’s not the point of NaNoWriMo. Try telling my inner editor that, though.


Day 3 – 9,280

I’m very glad my first two days were so strong because I hardly had chance to do any writing because I had so much university work, that I should have done on day 2. Oops.

Picking up from yesterday’s writing wasn’t as hard as I imagined, and I managed to a few words down before bed.


Day 4 -11,096

Wednesday was yet another very busy day, but I managed to find an hour at the end of the day to write almost 2,000 words.


Day 5 – 14,285

Today my characters decided to deviate from the plan, and my fingers obeyed them. The whole time I was thinking “Nope, this doesn’t fit with the story. How will this work now?”, and my fingers ignored my brain and did what the characters demanded they did.


Day 6 – 18,757 & Day 7 – 22,382

I had a really good writing session late on Friday night running into early Saturday morning, and wrote over 8,000 words. My characters continued to do what they want, but they’re starting to move back towards my plot plan again, and I’m really happy with how things are progressing.


Day 8 – 25,644

Yet another good evening writing session saw me get another couple of thousands words under my belt. I wrote some Bonfire Night and Christmas scenes, which was really fun.


How’s week 1 of NaNoWriMo been for you?


Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2015 + useful resources

October 30, 2015

Things you need for a successful NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year again; NaNoWriMo is almost here!

In case you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo before, it stands for National Novel Writing Month – though it really is quite the international affair now. Every November, writers from across the globe all pledge to try and complete the first draft of a story by writing 50,000 words.

That might seem like a lot of words, and it is, but it’s not if you can break it down and keep on top of your daily word count.

This will be my fourth year taking part in NaNoWriMo, and for the first time I am going into this pretty prepared.

My preparation for NaNoWriMo began back at the end of July when I was in Sweden. I was struck by a story and had to race out to get a notepad to begin plotting it all down. Since then, I’ve been developing my characters, and letting the plot ruminate in my head.

I’m really excited to start, and I’m hopeful that I’ll manage to stay on top of my word goal. Last year, I think I finished with a couple of days to spare, but this year with university, work, and blogging, it’s going to be a tight fit. I’m just going to have to manage my time well.

Want to take part? There’s still time. Head over to the NaNoWriMo website for more information and to sign up.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, here is a quick list (I go into more detail in the links below) about the things I’ve found vital for completing NaNoWriMo

  • Somewhere to make notes – whether that’s your phone, your laptop, or a notebook. Ideas can strike you at the weirdest times (usually while I’m driving) so have something handy to get the idea down before it runs off.
  • A playlist – music that inspires you, and that you can write to.
  • Plentiful food and drink is necessary for those long stints.
  • Stickers! I have found stickers to be invaluable. I reward myself with a sticker whenever I reach my daily word goal, and it’s amazing what you will do for a sticker at 23 years old.
  • A NaNoWriMo account – I wouldn’t have completed it once if I hadn’t got a NaNoWriMo account, purely because it allows me to update my word count and see graphics and statistics about how I’m doing.
  • Something fun to read – sometimes you just need a break from writing, and maybe a little inspiration, so I like to re-read one of my favourite books.

Last year, I put together a couple of blog posts about NaNoWriMo that go into more detail about the above, throw in a few more ideas, and a couple of links to some really useful documents and forums.

Want to be writing buddies? Here’s my NaNoWriMo profile.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? Have you got any tips to share?

Books Posts That Aren't Reviews, Writing

5 cosy books to read this autumn + The Olive Fox book club

October 1, 2015

The air is beginning to turn cool and crisp, and on days and evenings like that I love nothing more than being cosy with a book. 

Today, The Olive Fox has gone live. (I promise there’s a point to this) It’s a collection of brilliant blog posts from some wonderful and talented people about so many topics, from books, to beauty, to food, to games, and more. 

A few weeks ago, Beth and Suzy asked me to contribute to The Olive Fox, so I did what I do best; write about books. 

Head on over to The Olive Fox to read about 5 books that I think are perfect for reading this autumn. I also really want to hear your suggestions too.

But wait, there’s more! 

We’ve also set up The Olive Fox Book Club. Much excite. 

October’s theme is thrillers and you have until 17:00 GMT+1 on Sunday 4th October to vote on the book you think The Olive Fox Book Club should read in October. On Monday 5th October, the choice will be announced.

The plan is to get people talking about the book on social media during the month, and then there’ll be a discussion post at the end of the month where you can have your say in the comments. 

Head on over to the October choices post to take choose your pick



I’m really excited to be a contributor to The Olive Fox. Beth and Suzy did a fantastic job, and Carly’s illustrations of Acorn are so adorable. 


Society should teach girls not to worry about their appearance, not schoolboys

March 20, 2015

 Huffington Post screenshot

Some of you may have seen comments made by a child expert in the Telegraph on Wednesday who said that boys should tell girls about their idea of a perfect woman to try and combat girls concerns about their appearance. 

As you might expect this annoyed a few people, myself included. I did what I always do when I get frustrated; I wrote it all down. Then by some miracle the Huffington Post UK let me put it on their blog. 

You can read my piece here: Society Should Teach Girls Not to Worry About Their Appearance, Not Boys 

What do you think about it? 



NaNoWriMo, Writing

Completing NaNoWriMo: the view from the top

November 30, 2014
NaNoWriMo 2014 winner banner

I’ve done it! I’ve reached the summit of the 50,000 word mountain. 

Last night I hit 50,000 words and boy is the view good from up here. 

As I’ve mentioned in pretty much every blog post about NaNoWriMo, I’ve found it quite difficult this year. Last year it was really easy and breezed through but this year I’ve had to wrestle with my story. Which left me feeling like giving up so many times but I ignored the voice and did it! 

My novel is a bit all over the place and during December I’m hoping I can complete it and get it in some kind of decent order so I can begin editing it. 

Of course no completion of NaNoWriMo is without it’s reward, so keep an eye out for a few more beauty product posts. 

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you? If you’re not there yet: keep going, you can do it!